Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Academic Progression and Retention Policies of Colleges and Schools of Pharmacy

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Academic Progression and Retention Policies of Colleges and Schools of Pharmacy

Article excerpt


The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) establishes standards and guidelines that all colleges and schools of pharmacy must address to ensure the education and experiences received by pharmacy graduates are of adequate quality. (1) ACPE Professional Standard 19 requires that the criteria and policies for academic progress, probation, remediation, and dismissal be stated and readily available. (1) Progression policies specify the conditions under which a student pharmacist cannot proceed in the curriculum. These generally include remediation of a specific portion of the curriculum (ie, course), repeat of a section of the curriculum (ie, semester or year), or dismissal from the program. Academic policies exist to ensure that faculty members and students understand the expectations for academic success, that the college or school administration is consistent in its approach to addressing academic progression among students, and that the high academic standards dictated by the profession are maintained.

Although Maize and colleagues provided a thorough review of remediation programs in health-related fields, no other studies have assessed the academic standards and progression policies in colleges and schools of pharmacy. (2) Our objective was to describe academic progression, remediation, and dismissal criteria that are used by colleges and schools of pharmacy in the United States. This information should assist programs in their development and/or reevaluation of their academic progression and retention policies.


Web sites for 122 colleges and schools of pharmacy designated by ACPE as having either candidate or full accreditation status were reviewed between February 2012 and May 2012.

A standardized form was used to facilitate data collection. Institutional information included public or private status and ACPE accreditation standing. Criteria for student progression, probation, dismissal, and remediation

were noted. Additionally, information regarding criteria for graduation, including matriculation timeframe, was recorded. The Institutional Review Boards at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center deemed the project exempt.


The Web sites of 122 programs that met the criteria were reviewed. Twenty-four did nothave any information regarding academic standards or progression policies posted; hence, data were available for 98 (80%) colleges and schools of pharmacy. Of these, 54 (55%) were public and 44 (45%) were private institutions. Thirteen programs had ACPE candidate status, indicating that students had matriculated but a class had not graduated.

The handbooks of most programs contained criteria for progression (79.6%), probation (86.7%), and dismissal (86.7%); however, only 38.8% of programs included any information on remediation. With the exception of remediation, there were no differences in availability of information between public and private institutions (Table 1). The majority of programs used a 4.0 grading scale, but 5 programs used a percentile score. While 45% of programs included a D grade in their grading scale, a higher percentage of public institutions (59.3%) did so compared to private (27.3%) programs.


The minimum cumulative GPA was the most common criteria used to determine student progression (Table 2). A minimum GPA was specified in the handbooks of 76.5% of programs. The percentage of programs that used GPA was higher among public (83.3%) vs private (68.2%) institutions. Sixty percent of programs required a student to maintain a cumulative GPA of $ 2.0, while 11.2% and 5.1% required a GPA of 2.1-2.5 and 2.63.0, respectively. A greater percentage of private institutions (22.1%) than public institutions (11.1%) required a higher GPA (ie, [greater than or equal to]2.0) for progression. …

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